Little Looms Magazine Fall 2022

I really do want to like this magazine but I’m not convinced anyone is actually editing the patterns. Or else they are written only for people who have already completed very similar projects.

I’ve been working on my temperature blanket (one month to go!) and I’m stitching the squares together by hand because I couldn’t find good instructions on making a crocheted or other border. I had really wanted a sort of stained glass effect but in the interest of time, I abandoned that idea.

So I was excited to see a stained glass pin loom blanket in the latest issue of Little Looms.

Gabi van Tassell’s pattern has some resources for weaving triangles, finishing off crochet and crochet glossary (all webpages) but doesn’t have any illustrations or info about the actual stitches she wants you to make. It’s strange that they think you won’t know what crochet abbreviations are but expect you to know how to crochet any stitches and connect them into a woven piece.

Later in the magazine they give you an illustration of how to do a French knot. How do they decide what people know?

I was going to re-up my subscription but I don’t think I will. There are a ton of cute ideas but the directions are written so strangely. I guess it stands out as a recipe writer but they don’t seem to value clarity. This is not the first time I’ve had my hopes dashed by this magazine.

New Triangle Loom!

I had two triangle pin looms that have the pins spaced evenly along all three sides. Some times they are called “bias” looms.

They are fine but I found using using them a lot more tedious than my Zoom Loom or bookmark loom. You need to use a crochet hook or a small locker hook to weave, similar to how “turtle looms” work. I find this kind of bulky and awkward. Part of what I like about pin looms is that it’s easy and I can do it without paying a lot of attention. The bias looms weren’t difficult once I got the hang of it but they are more hands on. You have to hook the yarn just so or it will fall off or get caught. It’s easy to grab or snag the wrong strand as well. I wish there was a better tool to use rather than trying to adapt tools from other crafts.

Part of the reason I got the 4 inch triangle loom was to be able to make designs pairing it with my Zoom Loom squares. I quickly realized that they didn’t quite fit together right. The Zoom Loom is three (sort of four, depending on how you count) layers and the bias loom was only two or one depending on the technique. Unless I was using very thick yarn, it gave a much more “lacy” look to the triangles than the Zoom Loom squares. It didn’t look quite right when you held them up to the squares I made on the Zoom Loom. I really wanted to be able to use the same yarn for both looms for a project and get a uniform look. I don’t have a square bias loom and didn’t really want one.

Oddly it was tricky to find a triangle loom with the 3 pin set up. Dewberry has some but the shipping was pretty high. I poked around and a lot of people talked about using Wunderwag Looms. I was hesitant because they don’t have a website and aren’t on Etsy. You just email them and they send you the details. I debated about it and finally emailed them and it went fine! He replied right away with a list of products and shipping prices. He offered a discount if you buy a set of three so I did that. I figured I probably would want a larger and smaller one eventually so why not save on shipping? They shipped and arrived super quickly.

Unlike the other looms I saw they were made out of clear plastic. They have numbers on all three sides to make it clear how and where to warp and weave. My only quibbles is that the instructions show a fully warped and woven triangle. I would have liked a break down of each layer like how the Zoom Loom instructions are. It’s color coded but it’s a little tricky to see. He also included some written instructions. I also think I would have preferred solid plastic rather than clear, it is a little distracting to see my fingers, the floor and the rest of the yarn through the loom.

I love how the triangles look. They are the perfect thickness and size to pair with my Zoom Loom woven squares which is exactly what I wanted!

It’s a little tricky at the top and around the hypotenuse where there is a lot of tight overlapping but it works up quickly. I really like the 3-pin method so it’s worth a little struggle. Using the crochet hook was a lot more tedious than this.

Pin Loom Bookmarks Part 2

I’ve shared a few bookmarks here but I’ve really been making them a lot lately! They are so quick to make and so satisfying. Since they are so narrow there is no real room for anything to get tangled. I’ve done over 290 temperature blanket squares and you’d be surprised how often I put it down for a second and the yarn mysteriously knots itself or something gets pulled funny.

I filmed my self warping and then weaving a bookmark and uploaded it to TikTok. It takes about 15 minutes total. It’s a great way to use the slightly stiff but cute variegated yarn I thrifted a number of weeks ago. I can’t imagine wanting to wear anything from the yarn but it makes a bookmark that is pretty flat and thick. Any yarn works but soft yarn does yield a floppier bookmark.

I’ve been washing them then air drying them on a drying cloth from Aldi outside when it’s sunny. It’s really interesting to see what patterns form. I’ve done squares with some of the same yarn (or the same yarn but a different colorway) and they end up looking totally different than the bookmark—like the green/orange below striped as a bookmark and almost made a plaid but was much more abstract as a 2 inch square. I also have that yarn in purple and blue shades for the temperature blanket and it looks very different, much less geometric and even, as a 4 inch square.

I’m not sure if I am going to make tassels or maybe attach something else to them. Maybe buttons? A flower made using my vintage daisy loom? More pompoms? Or leave them be?

It’s funny how much fun I have making them (I think I am up to around SIXTY) because despite reading over 200 books a year, I rarely read a physical book and when I do, I’m an awful dogearer.

Temperature Blanket Update #4

I finally packed away some of my coldest temperature yarns. I really overbought a couple colors because it was much colder than the last 3 years. In previous years, most winter days had highs in the 35-39 range but this year it was either much colder or much warmer.

It’s still been pretty cold and dreary here but we have ventured into the 80s this week and will probably hit 90 tomorrow. A return to the colors I started the blanket with!

I had kept up with one square a day all year but I’m a tiny bit behind now. I went to Ocean Grove, NJ for a little solo vacation break thought I’d spend the time working on some other pin loom projects. I ended up not doing any weaving at all because it was so windy on the beach and the room was tiny and awkward. Now I’m catching up. I’m doing the temps for Baltimore not where I actually was. I guess that makes sense? I don’t think I will be anywhere else overnight until after it’s finished. Maybe if I was away for longer I’d do the temperature there. But my husband and the dogs were still here in Baltimore so someone did experience that weather! It was cooler where I was.

Once I’m caught up (5 more squares to go!) I will be only 91 days/squares from completing the blanket.

I’m still debating about how to do a backing and if I should attach a key to the temperatures somehow. I asked in a couple Facebook groups and some people had it printed on to fabric or embroidered it on the back. I feel like I should add a key somehow because if I don’t, it just looks like an odd patchwork blanket.

Weaving Guild News

I decided to join the weaving guild that the woman who helped me warp the Wolf Pup at the library belongs to. It’s not the Greater Baltimore one which I still have mixed feelings about but one that is actually meets closer to Baltimore! It’s up on Bel Air, Maryland. They do weekly informal weaving zooms on Mondays, some learning zooms and then have a hybrid in person meeting once a month outside of summer. The dues were only $20 so really no downside.

I attended my first zoom today! They all seem very friendly and enthusiastic. It was interesting to hear them all talk about weaving. A lot of them said they really liked planning more than actually weaving which I thought was interesting. I’m not an unfinished project person.

I heard some stories about how rainy and muddy it was at Maryland Sheep & Wool this year but that sales were good. I bet everyone was desperate to get out and shop in person!

Later this month they are having their last in-person hybrid meeting until the fall and I’m going to attend. Apparently it will also be an auction so I might be able to pick up some supplies the women are donating from their stash.

I can’t really be on camera when Matt’s working but I could see everyone else. It will be nice to see them in person soon. I made a couple bookmarks during the zoom. I find them very satisfying to weave.

Pin Loom Project: Woven Bookmarks

I bought a cute narrow rectangle pin loom and made a few bookmarks with it. I made one for my dad who is still using the bookmark I made him in about 1991.

Then I made a couple more with thrifted yarn. I love how the ones with pompoms turned out! It’s easy to see where you are in the book but the body of the bookmark is flat enough that the book is flopping open.

I’ve been half thinking that I might do a pop up market one day and these would be fun to make and sell as a smaller, more affordable item.

Tiny Pin Loom Fun

I ordered some square and hexagon pin looms from a Etsy store based in Russia. They took a long time to arrive but so far they are great!

I am loving the 2×2 inch square one. It has the same peg set up as my Zoom Loom so no learning curve.

I can make a square out of very little yarn in just a few minutes. I’ve been making them out of scraps from the temperature blanket and other projects. They are so cute and satisfying to make. I wish I knew about pin looms when I was a kid. These tiny squares would make a great patchwork doll blanket.

Right now I’m just sticking them in jars but maybe I’ll turn them into a table runner or a scarf? They really satisfy my love of using up scraps and quick projects.

Temperature Blanket Update #4

It was warm today so I took it out to make a little video of my progress through last week.

The weather has been very warm for December and November and lot of variation. It’s been 69° one day and 43° the next. I’m glad I picked colors that work well together overall.

I uploaded a video to Tiktok of it. I’m posting it below but I’m not sure how great it will embed.

You can see below that the back is kind of bumpy so I’m already thinking about how if I will weave a backing and how.

I think it looks great so far! A few loose yarns and I haven’t washed it, of course, but it’s coming together. I wove a design on a few of the squares but nothing fancy. I saw a pattern for a heart I’m tempted by but I’m normally sort of tired by the time I’m doing the squares and don’t want to concentrate that hard.

I have only had one day since the beginning that I skipped so I’ve been keeping up! 115 blocks done. One a day and attaching them to the day before. I do a row of 14 squares (days) then attach them to the rest of the blanket. It’s going to be hot to do that when I finish in August!

Temperature Blanket Update #3: 8 Weeks

I made a little video to show my progress. It’s not washed or blocked so it’s a little bumpy but you can get an idea of the temperature fluctuations.

We were getting into the blues of the 70s but it’s been warm the last few days so the next strip will be back to some purples.

I’m sewing 14 days together and then adding the whole strip at once on top of the previous weeks. You can see the pink square on the bottom left with a safety pin in it—that’s day one. I’ve been sticking a piece of pink yarn through the first day of each new row to keep that straight too. I don’t want any mistakes!

I have a notebook too (of course!) where I track the temps and what block I am on and the over all square number.

So far it’s a manageable project! I’ve found I really prefer it when I can get it done during the day, our house is dark and the bright light makes it so much easier to see. Plus it frees up some time the evenings to do other weaving (I have two projects on the go on my Cricket and Kromski rigid heddles) or something else. When I’m tired I dawdle on the pin loom because it’s a little fiddly once you get towards the end.

Temperature Blanket

My husband bought me a Zoom Loom (4×4 inch pin loom) for my birthday. I think I got the hang of it on the beach yesterday and of course, ended up at Michael’s on my way home to buy yarn to make a Temperature Blanket with it.

I had seen people crocheting or knitting these blankets—the idea is that you stitch one row every day reflecting the temperature—but not weaving. With good reason—I don’t have a frame loom big enough for 365 rows nor do I want to tie one up for that long. It would work on a rigid heddle but again, it would be tying up the loom for a whole year. But why not a pin loom? I’ve made quilts before so piecing together little 4×4 squares sounds reasonable.

I’m going to have the first block be my birthday (August 19th) because I don’t want to wait until January and it was less than two weeks ago so it will be easy to catch up.

I love color so I decided to have yarn for every five degrees which I think will be more my style than bigger groupings. I saw a woman on Tiktok that did like 30° ranges! Why? Half her blanket was the same. I think having shorter ranges will end up using about the same amount of yarn.

I used the slightly annoying and tedious Temperature Blanket tool (I suggest you add all the extra rows you need before inputting any data) to look up the highs and lows of each day from August 19, 2020 to August 19, 2021 to get an idea of what amount of yarn to get. A 4×4 pin loom uses a little under 8 yards but I rounded it up to 10 to account for mistakes and any variations.

I ended up with 3 skeins of yarn for the most popular temperature ranges, 2 for some ranges that were right on the edge (some ranges had about 25 days in them and that was the upper end of what I could get from one 280 yard skein) and just one for the very highest and some of the lowest temperatures. For some of the ranges I did get a coordinating variegated yarn just for fun. The yardage on those were only 183 so I had to get extra of one just to be safe.

I’m using Loop’s & Threads Impeccable acrylic yarn (I think it’s Michael’s brand) because I wanted something easily washed, easy to find and didn’t have the dye lot issues natural yarns would have. It is advertised as a blanket yarn so it should be fine. With a coupon it ended up being under $3/skein for most of the yarns. The variegated was the same price for about 3/4 as much. I saw some people who used it with pin looms to make baby blankets so hopefully it will be fine.

I don’t have a huge table inside that ready accessible so I took all the yarn outside and figured out the order.

Of course there will be some intermingling but I wanted to make sure the colors that would most likely be together looked okay together. I went with what color felt like the temperature to me without fixating on “blue for cold, red for warm”. I wish I had some green in there but I didn’t end up liking any of them when I was at the store. I wanted to stick to one brand for continuity.

I did get some orange, yellow and a bright variegated I didn’t end up loving with the the other colors so I’ll have to find another use for them.

I used post-it notes and pinned them to each color. I then wound the most commonly used colors for right now into cakes and refastened the post-its to the cakes.

I used the site Time and Date to see what the high (and low) was each day. I’m only using the high. I saw some people using the high and low twisted together or using the average but using the high felt right. That’s the temperature I notice most often since it happens during the day when I’m awake! I am tracking the lows just in case I needed it for some reason.

I have a note book set up to track the temperature and I created a little reference board of all the yarn for a quick reference.

I’m not sure how I am going to stitch them together yet so I’m leaving long tails.